Did Apolo Anton Ohno think about competing in the Sochi Olympic Games?
—Bryan Dean, Mount Pleasant, New York
Despite being the most decorated American Winter Olympic athlete of all time with eight medals — two gold, two silver and four bronze — Ohno, 31, has officially put his professional short track speed skating career behind him.
“As an athlete, watching friends and U.S. Olympians compete, you feel like you can do it one more time,” says the Federal Way, Washington-born skater, who admits to getting goose bumps when he watches the promos for the Sochi games. “But there comes a time in every single athlete’s life when they have to make a decision, and I’ve been very, very blessed to have a wonderful career and I’m looking forward to the next steps and chapters in my life.”
Those next steps will take him to Sochi for the winter games, but as a broadcaster rather than a member of the U.S. Olympic team. He is hoping his experience as a former participant will provide him with an insider’s knowledge that others covering for NBC don’t have.
“My correspondence with so many Olympic athletes — winter and summer — and the fact that I’ve lived it — I have battled injuries, battled negative press, and I have battled against a country’s [Korea] animosity against me — so I feel that I have lived it, and I can share that and gain trust from the other athletes, so when we sit down and do 1 on 1 pieces, hopefully, I can bring out a different side of their personality.”
Even though he still owns property in Utah, Ohno now calls Los Angeles home — and with a purpose. Being in the entertainment capitol has opened up new opportunities for him, such as competing on “Dancing with the Stars,” which he won, and hosting the GSN game show “Minute to Win It.”
“I have never been one to back down from a challenge or not try something,” he says. “I am a Gemini by nature. I have many facets to my personality, so I compartmentalize all these different aspects of my life and I try to exceed in every single one… You want to have fun with stuff. You only live once. I may fail at some things, I may succeed at others, but I won’t know what I am the best at until I try.”